Okay, so the tunnels weren’t quite finished. But winds of about 120km an hour weren’t quite what I was expecting. Or what the brand new poly tunnels (hot houses) could stand.
20 Sep 2012 - 11:21 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

The sense of devastation, the sense of waste, the sense of uselessness, well, they all came down like a cloud. As did a dark grey cloud of something evil into my lungs.

I couldn’t breathe well. I just wanted to sleep. I had sole care of our little boy and no energy to play, or cook, and definitely none to work. Just a simple lung infection, and I was knocked about so badly that despite the urgency of so many farm tasks, all I’ve been doing is the minimum. I don’t believe in the routine use of antibiotics. But I do believe they can work miracles, and I’m bouncing back by the day. Soon I’ll have the energy to pick up the poly tunnel pieces, to work out just what in the garden may survive and get some new plants in for spring.

There are trees down over fences. Almost all of them wattles. They may look pretty when they’re standing, but near fences they’re a menace. They don’t live long, they tend to fall in any big breeze, and they do plenty of damage on the way down. A few years ago 16 of them fell on our neighbour’s road after a mini cyclone tore a swathe through the regrowth at the back of Puggle Farm. Every few years a spring wind knocks a few wattles over, inevitably some doing damage.

The top blew out of our favourite gum tree in the big winds, too, and you can see why overhanging branches are called 'widow makers’. Gums lose limbs. Where many trees fall down dead, eucalypts tend to shed a branch to save the trunk. Ours shed a fairly upright limb, though thankfully it only fell on the temporary electric fence. It’s still dangerous, but a mate cut out the bulk so it’s less likely to swing or shift in the next breeze. Less likely to take out a person or a cow.

This is nature at its most raw. Every year, in every place, nature surprises us. Not far from us cherry nets worth $10,000 were blown apart in that wind. Other poly tunnels were damaged, by the look around the valley. The weather is as unpredictable as a lover spurned. Nature, by definition, is chaotic and challenging. That farmers can grow things while contending not just with bugs or weeds or birds or wallabies, but with the environment throwing fierce winds or brutal frosts or searing heat or devastating rains, is simply amazing. That we have been bruised by the weather is just another step in us learning to live on the land. But that doesn’t make me happy about it.